BTMI! at the Albert

btmi-flyer2On Friday night I went to see Bomb the Music Industry! at the Prince Albert in Brighton. I totally love BTMI!, but this is not a gig I thought I’d ever get to see, and I’d been looking forward to it for months, even uttering the words ‘nothing will stop me going to that gig, unless I literally cannot move’. So what happens? I get ill on saturday, go to the doctors finally on friday morning, I have tonsillitis and maybe glandular fever, one of the glands on my neck is so swollen it’s easily visible, my throat is half closed, I can’t talk properly, or eat hard food, swallowing is agony so I turn up at the gig full of every kind of medicine, I did make it though.

I really like the Prince Albert, the venue is upstairs, above the pub, which means for people that weren’t on antibiotics drinks downstairs first, then upstairs where I am on the guest list for the first ever time in nearly nine years of going to gigs, which was pretty good. A couple of acts had cancelled, so Three Summers Strong opened, and here I probably am a little biased, since my boyfriend is the drummer, but hopefully not that much, after all acoustic punk is not my area of expertise. For an opening band, especially with not many people arrived yet, they seemed to go down really well, and played a short but well put together set, with some nice catchy songs, and great stage presence, friends randomly coming on stage to sing along, and it’s always nice to see people who look like they’re having lots of fun on stage. To me there sounded kind of like an English Against Me!, but that could just be because that is more or less where my experience of folk punk begins and ends, but certainly they both share a lead singer with an awesome voice. All in all, I was very impressed,and everyone else seemed to be too.

Next up was Mike Scott, who used to be in Phinius Gage, a band I’ve seen an awful lot of times at shows around Brighton, so it was kind of like being 16 and going to at least one gig nearly every night, which was nice, especially as he played a couple of their songs. Acoustic music again, quite political, including ending the set with two songs about veganism, which he said would make him look more preachy than he is, and a cover of a Propaghandi song that I should know but don’t, but got a really good response, and I really need to properly listen to more stuff that isn’t just ska or psychobilly. It seemed like the sort of music that I would need to listen to lots of really appreciate, especially when I was feeling ill and wanted to be comforted rather than have to think, so I spent too much time discussing if he looked kind of like a young Elvis Costello, looking online it turns out yes, he does a bit.

Then, the reason I was there, BTMI! I felt really bad for Jeff, he’d had to miss the gig in London the night before because his plane got cancelled, then spent more of the support acts trying to program songs ready to play, and then got onstage where within the first song the sound broke a couple of times, including some nice feedback, but he held it together pretty well, and the audience, pretty big by now, still seemed very excited, I know I was. The set was amazing,I always think they sound like a bizarre, synthy wave of noise, punctuated with utterly beautiful moments, like some of the horn sections, and that’s what it was like seeing them live, similar to how they sound recorded but rougher in a way that really worked. For me the highlights were This Is A Singalong from the split EP with O Pioneers!!!, my introduction to BTMI!, and of course Side Projects Are Never Successful, with the whole audience singing along, and quite a few people dancing or jumping around, and me really wishing that I felt well enough to.My expectations of what a BTMI gig could be like were lived up to when a girl got onstage to sing, pretty impressively too, even when she forgot the words, by the end of the gig there were six of seven people onstage, with Jeff on the floor in the crowd singing I Don’t Love You Any More, along with everyone else, not so much audience interaction as a living up to the idea that everyone is a member of BTMI, and one of the nicest audiences that I’ve been in for a while.

Afterwards, as well as getting a limited edition of Get Warmer, but with all kinds of extra stuff on it too, and a nice hand stenciled cover, I went and got a tshirt stenciled as well, with my recent love of stenciling I’m especially loving the whole DIY ethic, but most of all I loved the friendliness as people were waiting to get stuff spraypainted, it kind of felt like hanging out with a large group of acquaintances, only with the addition of a pretty tshirt at the end. Now I just need to hope that BTMI come back soon, when I’m not ill and can properly appreciate the bizarre, amazing experience seeing them live is.